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Restructuring the International System at the End of the 20 th Century and Its Consequences on Ethnic Identities and Borders: Case Study: South-Eastern.

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Presentation on theme: "Restructuring the International System at the End of the 20 th Century and Its Consequences on Ethnic Identities and Borders: Case Study: South-Eastern."— Presentation transcript:

1 Restructuring the International System at the End of the 20 th Century and Its Consequences on Ethnic Identities and Borders: Case Study: South-Eastern Europe

2 Restructuring the International System: Cold War System VS Post-Cold War System Cold War SystemPost-Cold War System Dividing the world into spheres of influence between the U.S. and USSR  Unification of Germany  Reunification of Europe Bipolar system (U.S.)Unipolar system (U.S.)  Multipolar system (U.S., EU, China, Russia, India, Brazil) State actors (nation state)  State actors (nation state)  Supranational actors (EU)  Non-state actors (IGOs, NGOs, multinational corporations)

3 Cold War SystemPost Cold War System Multinational communist federations (USSR, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia)  The break of the multinational communist federations  The emergence of new nation states (Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Belarus, Czech Republic, Slovakia etc.)  New boundaries drawn on ethnic basis State actors preserve their own national sovereignty, seeing in it the very key of their existence States voluntarily give up a part of their sovereignty and join economic, political and collective security supranational organizations, such as the EU and NATO

4 Cold War SystemPost Cold War System Communist regimes in Central and South- Eastern Europe:  unipartidism  without social stratification  nationalization and industrialization of the economy; collectivization of agriculture  protectionism  excessive state control and privacy invasion Collapse of communism in Central and South-Eastern Europe  transition to democratic regimes :  multipatism; parliamentarism; constitutionalism  social stratification  privatization of the economy; market economy  free trade  freedom of expression, thought, association, conscience and freedom of the press

5 Cold War SystemPost Cold War System Industrial economy: industries and agriculture development Postindustrial economy, based on service development, telecommunications and information technology Economic competition at national and international level Global economic competition  globalization  Tensions and insecurity because of the US-USSR arm race  An overall sense of dissatisfaction due to the oppressive and totalitarian communist regimes  An overall sense of insecurity at national and international level  states join collective security organizations, like NATO  Internal tensions, ethnic conflicts, civil war  New threats to states, such as terrorism

6 Causes that led to the restructuring of the international system in the late twentieth century:  The international system is subject to a continuous restructuring by its very nature;  The legitimacy crisis of the USSR, which can support no more the leadership of the communist world, nor the role of a global superpower  the breakup of the USSR  the restructuring of balance of power;

7  The discredit and collapse of communism as political regime, philosophy and mentality;  The successful Western model;  EU and NATO enlargement policies;  Territorial, political and economic interests of states;  The globalization process;  The ICT development.

8 The consequences of restructuring the international system in the late twentieth century:  The restructure of balance of power ;  The disappearance of certain states from the international stage and the emergence of others  new actors, new borders;  Changing the political regimes: from communism to democracy, from multinational federation to nation state;

9  Identity crisis: in this international context of great political, social and economic changes, communities experience a profound identity crisis: they wonder who they are, what they want and where they are heading; they re- evaluate their defining characteristics, values, priorities and interests  they look for or restate their own identities

10 Why it is so important for community groups finding and asserting their own identity? Why is identity such an important topic when analyzing the international system?  identity = the reference points of an individual or of a community to the world they live ;  identity gives meaning to the lives of individuals and communities;  the existence of an individual or a community and their recognition by others is conditioned by the assumption and assertion of their own identities

11 Sources of identity:  Race  Ethnicity  Language  Religion  Culture  Social class  Age  Political or professional affiliation  Family Political and social context determine the supremacy of either of sources of identity and sometimes even its radicalization

12 The major political, economic, social and mental changes, caused by the restructuring of the international system and the identity crisis led to the revival of ethnicity in the late twentieth century. Ethnicity is a primary factor that divides the world into Us and Others  contributes to the shaping of identity. Ethnicity – recourse to the psycho-cultural element that reinforces solidarity and transforms ethnicity into a powerful source of identity.

13 The revival of ethnicity in the late twentieth century is:  a consequence of restructuring the international system and of the identity crisis;  a response to the many changes on the international stage;  an attempt to preserve and perpetuate the sense of emotional satisfaction and support received as a member of a special community with shared values and habits in this era of mass society, industrial universality, transient relations and alienation.

14 Ethnicity has:  the power to solidarize and mobilize the masses;  the power to induce a sense of belonging. The revival of ethnicity in the late twentieth century had both positive and negative consequences.

15 Positive effects of the revival of ethnicity: – National minorities from South-Eastern Europe:  Reviewed their primary characteristics and values;  Set their priorities and aspirations;  Reinvented their own identities;

16  Stressed and fought for their rights, which had been denied or neglected until then  they achieved a more equal distribution of state resources;  they improved the situation of disadvantaged groups through political and cultural autonomy. E.g. The revival of ethnicity in post-communist Romania  the emergence of minority parties in the political arena and their co-optation in governing coalitions in order to ensure equal access to state resources.

17 Negative effects of the revival of ethnicity:  Intolerance;  Exclusion;  Destructive policies;  Mass violence directed against members of other ethnic groups;  Forced expulsion;  Destruction of cultural and religious sources of identity of other groups. E.g. The war in former Yugoslavia

18 The restructuring of the international system + the collapse of communism  disintegration of multinational federations and emergence of new independent nation states  the ethnic borders question. The newly created states were based on ethnic principles, each state consisting of one dominant ethnic group (the majority) and several minority groups.

19 Ethnic borders have always existed, but they rarely coincide with territorial boundaries of the state. The questions of ethnicity and ethnic borders are raised especially when two or more ethnic groups have claims of sovereignty over the same territory  violence and ethnic hatred towards members of other ethnic groups. E.g. The case of Kosovo: where both Albanians and Serbs lay claims on the same territory, each ethnic group having its own story and historical arguments.

20 There are two types of symbolic ethnic borders in Central and South-Eastern Europe:  type “bridges”;  type “doors”.

21 Type “bridges” boundaries:  Soft, flexible and easily penetrable barriers;  Do not divide, but bind together;  Bridges of communication and knowledge among different ethnic groups and cultures;  Do not limit groups to their own ethnicity, but they open their horizons to know other cultures and ethnic groups, to understand and appreciate diversity, but also to be known by other groups and communities.

22 Type “doors” boundaries:  Impenetrable and inflexible barriers;  Separate and isolate ethnic groups;  Lead to an exaggerated focus on their own ethnicity, radicalization of ethnic differences and a profound lack of knowledge and communication among various ethnic groups ;  Emphasize ethnic hatred and rivalry ;  Cause tensions and conflicts among different ethnic groups.

23 Conclusions: Restructuring the international system  identity crisis  revival of ethnicity  the question of ethnic borders

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